Michael Niall Aslen

The Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA) regrets to announce the death on 30 May 2015 of Michael Niall Aslen, one of its leading experts on financial policy. Niall was a silent genius who did an enormous amount of brilliant work for the SDA for years on end under the shadow of a persistent life-threatening illness.   His knowledge of and insight into all things financial pertaining to Scotland was unexcelled.  His ruthless dissection of the GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland) reports on the SDA website ("The Great Deception", "The Great Obfuscation", etc) had repercussions in both London and Edinburgh.  Reports came back to us that one of them resulted in the sacking of those responsible for GERS in St. Andrews House - not surprisingly after the latter had credited the entire cost of the Faslane Trident base to the Scottish budget, for obvious reasons.  Another of Niall's masterpieces was his analysis of the Scotland-UK balance of payments since 1707, when he could find only 9 years in which Scotland ran a deficit with London.  It transpired that this was primarily due to the monies sent north to pay for the building and fortification of Fort George on the Moray Firth.  Fort George was built to house the troops used to suppress the highland clans following the 1745 rebellion. Niall's research indicated that only during that period was there a short-lived reversal of the north-south net flow of monies into the UK Treasury, although the parallel with Faslane is obvious.  Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer was so enraged at Niall's inroads into what was being presented as Scotland's finances that he sent a team of hard-man investigators to Niall in Cairnbulg to find out the source of his "illegally leaked" information.  They descended on him without warning.  However, nothing loath, Niall gladly showed them the source of his information - the Treasury website, no less!  Exit Gordon's hard men, speechless and embarrassed.  Niall had no need to resort to espionage, because he had that characteristic of razor-sharp analytical intellect that is often to be found among individuals who are forced by physical disability into an intensive inner life that requires no verbal or written stimulus.  It still seems incredible how he could come up with such strokes of investigative genius while coping with the stress of commuting to Aberdeen every few days for dialysis.  While the SDA is all the poorer for losing him in the flesh, his work is continuing, like the inspiration that he left, and those SDA specialists who are keeping Niall Aslen's aspirations alive have to surmount the justifiably high standards he has set for the creation and administration of the New Scotland to which his life was dedicated.


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